A French Picnic Party

September 16, 2013

Now that Food52's Managing Editor Brette Warshaw has stocked her First Kitchen, she's ready to throw parties in it: no-stress weeknight parties for anyone, anytime, and (almost) every kitchen. You're invited.

Today: A game plan for pretending you're somewhere else.

French Onion Tart from Food52

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Pretending to be somewhere else -- or someone else, or something else -- is fun. It's why I throw indoor clambakes, carbonara parties, and tiki parties. It's why I dream of throwing a party where everyone dresses like ABBA. It's also why I tell creepy men at bars that my name is Lola and I'm an astronaut. 

So let's pretend, for a moment, that we're in France. Let's pretend the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. Let's pretend we're on a quilted blanket and drunk on rosé and the Eiffel tower is waving in the background. Let's pretend we're living each and every lovely cliché we could possibly think of, and then let's roll out a blanket on our apartment floors and throw a French-style picnic.

The Menu

Cured meats + olives + crackers
French Onion Tart
French Bean Salad with Tarragon and Green Peppercorn
Sweet, Salty, Crunchy, Zingy Apple and Celery Salad
Grape, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake

The weekend before your party: Make the crust for your French Onion Tart; it'll keep in the fridge for a few days.

The night before: Caramelize your onions for your filling, adding the thyme and sherry vinegar. Bake off your Grape, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake. Blanch your green beans for the French Bean Salad

Grape, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake

The morning of your party: Before you head off to work, make your Sweet, Salty, Crunchy, Zingy Apple and Celery Salad; it's even better after a few hours in the fridge.

Apple and Celery Salad from Food52

When you get home from work: Make the dressing for your French Bean Salad. Roll out your tart dough, and finish up the filling.

An hour before your guests arrive: Finish your tart. Let it perfume your home. Toss together your French Bean Salad. Set out your meats and olives. Lay out a picnic blanket (or don't).


French Bean Salad


When your guests arrive: Start pouring wine. Snack, then dine. 

When the food is gone: Bring out the Grape, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake. Eat it with your hands.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kristine Christlieb Canavan
    Kristine Christlieb Canavan
  • ChefJune
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
  • Brette Warshaw
    Brette Warshaw
Brette Warshaw

Written by: Brette Warshaw

I'm a reader, eater, culinary thrill-seeker, and food nerd.


Kristine C. November 24, 2015
Pretending is great fun, especially pretending you're in Paris. We were in Paris for our honeymoon on New Year's Eve. I believe we were near the Eiffel Tower where there were tents of food vendors selling mulled wine, hot chocolate, and huge skillets of some kind of cheesy potato and ham (or was it sausage?) dish. Do you know what that dish might be and can you provide a recipe?
ChefJune September 16, 2013
Ah, Ms. Brette, I love your style! And thank you thank you thank you for resurrecting that Onion Tart before winter! What a magnificent dish that appears to be. Can't wait to try it.
Marian B. September 16, 2013
It's so good! I'm a little in love with that tart.
Brette W. September 16, 2013
Thanks so much ChefJune! Let me know what you think of the tart; I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed.